OBLU Lobigili review: Woman&Home visits Atmosphere's newest resort in the Maldives

OBLU Lobigili has lots to offer couples who visit this boutique resort, with more or less everything included in the price of your stay

A composite image of three different views of OBLU Lobigili in the Maldives; the striped sun loungers by the pool, the underwater restaurant and the hammocks at the beach
(Image credit: Rachael Martin)
Woman & Home Verdict

Adults-only with a boutique-feel, this little island may not have all the options and choices afforded to the larger resorts in the Maldives, but what it lacks in space and privacy it more than makes up for in the highly personalised service for each and every guest.

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The Maldives is one of those tropical, paradisiacal destinations, along with the likes of the Seychelles and Mauritius, that have become synonymous with honeymoons. Atmosphere's latest property in the Maldives, Oblu Select Lobigili, leans into this with a couples-only retreat that puts romance at the heart of its design. 

It's all in the name. Oblu's latest hotel landed in March 2022 on an island named Lobigili, which literally translates as 'the island of love'. In the Maldivian language of Dhivehi, 'Lobi' means love and 'Gili' means island, and when designing this adults-only hotel the owners clearly had couples in mind. 

Discovering OBLU Lobigili

The island sets the tone of their romantic paradise right off the boat - a stylish saxophone player meets couples with smooth jazz as they arrive by speedboat, and each pair is given a single red rose for their sweetie before being ushered into the island's central, pink-roofed bar and offered a glass of cold champagne. 

Just beyond the bar’s heavy wooden doors you can see the hotel’s amazing swimming pool, which is a large infinity pool surrounded by parasols and sun beds - all with the island’s signature touches of neon pink.

You will quickly be whisked away by a dedicated island host in a golf buggy finished in a sugary shade of (you guessed it) pink and given a tour of the island.

OBLU Lobigili pool at sunset

The main pool at OBLU SELECT Lobigili at sunset.

(Image credit: Rachael Martin)

A relatively small island compared to others in the Maldives (and indeed Lobigili’s own neighbour Oblu Ailafushi) the tour doesn’t take too long, which weary travellers fresh off their long haul flight will be appreciative of. A single sandy track connects the over-water villas at one end of the island with a wooden bridge at the other end that leads to the island’s impressive over water gym and even more spectacular underwater restaurant.

Along the way, hammocks hang between the palms on the white sand beaches overlooking the turquoise blue waters, with sun loungers and shades carefully placed along the small shell-smattered shore. There are plenty of spots to encourage relaxation with a view of the waves. 

Upon arrival you will also be shown the island’s main bar and pool which stands near the over water villas and the island’s main restaurant - Ylang Ylang. The sandy track is also flanked with beach villas on one side - all with their own private plunge pools, access to the beach and sunset views.

A quick peak at the spa and view of the tennis court and water sports centre later and the tour is complete, meaning it’s time to get the key cards and see your villa for the first time.

An ariel view of OBLU SELECT Lobigili in the Maldives

OBLU SELECT Lobigili as seen from above. 

(Image credit: Ali Abdulla/OBLU SELECT Lobigili i)

What are the rooms like at Oblu Lobigili?

There are 24 beach villas with sunset views at Oblu Lobigili and 44 over-water villas. Not all of the rooms over the water come with a sunset view, so make sure to select this specifically when booking if you want to watch the spectacular Maldivian sunsets from the comfort of your own room.

We stayed in a Beach Pool Villa during our time at Oblu Lobigili which came with its own private plunge pool and mini veranda overlooking one of the island's beaches. 

A private plunge pool surrounded by sand looking out over green shrubbery to the ocean

The outside area of the Beach Pool Villas. 

(Image credit: Rachael Martin)

The design of the rooms is an interesting mix of Harajuku-inspired interior design and quintessential Maldivian style. The large, comfortable king-size bed is flanked by sliding shutters embossed with gilded cartoon shells at the head and a huge mustard-yellow beanbag at the foot with love written in different languages as a pattern. This matches the kimono-style cotton robes hanging in the wardrobe for guests to use during their stay.

The large bathrooms, stocked with products from The White Company, are part outdoors but fully covered, which might be a welcome design element for those less keen on the fully outdoor Maldivian bathroom experience.

Inside the room there's a small wardrobe for unpacking, a table and chair, and a minibar stocked with snacks, beer, wine and soft drinks that are replenished daily and all included during your stay.

One downside of the island's size and the amount of buildings packed onto a small landmass is that during our stay we felt like there was a lack of privacy on the island outside of the four walls of your room. The sparse foliage surrounding the veranda and private pools next to the villas mean we felt often overlooked by people on the beach. The water villas are afforded slightly more privacy looking out directly onto the ocean, although still have the incoming and outgoing boats to contend with.

The interior of a SunNest WATER VILLA with a pool at OBLU SELECT Lobigili in the Maldives

The interior of a SunNest WATER VILLA with a pool at OBLU SELECT Lobigili. 

(Image credit: Ali Abdulla/OBLU SELECT Lobigili)

What are the dining options at Oblu Lobigili?

There are three different restaurants at Oblu Lobigili but even more dining options. The food at all of the restaurants is fresh and locally sourced where possible, with many of the daily menu options revolving around the catch of the day - fish doesn’t get much fresher than that.

All of the drinks and all of the food at the main restaurant Ylang Ylang are included in the price of your stay.

During your stay on Oblu Lobigili, if staying for four nights or more, you will also be able to eat at the island’s other two dining options free of charge - the Gaadiya food truck and Only Blu, Oblu’s record-breaking underwater restaurant. One meal at each of these restaurants is included for those staying for four nights or more, or you can make additional bookings for an extra charge.

Ylang Ylang

The main restaurant on the island is called Ylang Ylang and serves breakfast, lunch and dinner daily for the majority of the island’s inhabitants. The restaurant has three different seating areas with each offering a different atmosphere; the indoor/outdoor dining space where you can dine with a sea breeze and views of the water, romantic tables for two set over water in the centre of the restaurant or ‘the library’ a large and airy, stylish space with comfortable armchair-like seats.

Breakfast and lunch are served buffet-style with some made-to-order options, and an updated menu each day keeps the food selection fresh and interesting - even for those guests staying for a longer period of time. The food at Ylang Ylang is delicious and made to a high standard. There is a strong Asian influence to the cooking, with dedicated stations making Indian and Thai dishes each day and a section of the buffet dedicated to serving fresh sushi for lunch. There are also some Mediterranean influences in the restaurant’s salad choices and freshly made pizza, the toppings of which are changed daily but are always delicious.

In the evening the restaurant works slightly differently, with guests served à la carte and choosing from a selection of set menus influenced by different cuisines around the world.

Ylang Ylang has an expansive drinks menu, with wine, beer, cocktails, smoothies and soft drinks served at both lunch and dinner. All of the drinks – like all of the food choices at Ylang Ylang - are included in the price of your stay.

The Ylang Ylang restaurant at OBLU SELECT Lobigili in the Maldives

One of the three seating areas in the Ylang Ylang restaurant.

(Image credit: Ali Abdulla / OBLU SELECT Lobigili)

The Gaadiya food truck

The Gaadiya food truck gives guests the chance to dine under the stars with their feet in the sand whilst enjoying delicious dishes all prepped on an airstream caravan on the beach. The theme of the menu is surf and turf, with grilled seafood or meat served with your choice of marinade and sauce. The grilled octopus we tried was sublime and there was a certain romance to the dining experience despite the others guests who were dining on the beach that evening.

Only Blu

Only Blu is one of the largest underwater restaurants in the country and all guests of Oblu Lobigili should make sure to make a reservation, as dining down amongst the coral and sea life is a magical and unforgettable experience. 

Far from just relying on the novelty of its design and location, Only Blu also impresses with its gourmet cuisine. Guests can choose from a few different set menus, each with at least three courses and serving up succulent fish, meat or plant-based dishes from the kitchen's grill. The limited wine and drinks list doesn't quite stand up to the impressive quality of the food or the underwater surroundings, but watching a lion fish or reef shark cruise past your table whilst you enjoy your dessert certainly makes this an experience worth having at least once.

The underwater restaurant at OBLU SELECT Lobigili in the Maldives

The underwater restaurant at OBLU SELECT Lobigili.

(Image credit: Ali Abdulla/OBLU SELECT Lobigili)

Private dining experiences on OBLU Lobigili

As well as the three main restaurants and food experiences on offer, Oblu Lobigili also have further dining options available for those seeking a more intimate and private dining experience à deux. These experiences include the quintessential ‘floating breakfast’ - which has become a Maldives must-have thanks to Instagram – and the private dining experiences that the resort team can organise for you and your significant other on one of the island’s beaches. Both of these dining experience take the island’s love theme quite literally, with the floating breakfast served on a red, heart-shaped tray on the private pool outside your room, and the decoration for the private dinner experience including heart-shaped LEDs and large lettering that spells out LOVE in the sand.

Both the floating breakfast and the private dining experiences come at an extra cost to the Oblu package price and can be organised in resort by the team there who will also try and fulfil any personalised requests for private dining experiences where possible.

Floating breakfast at Oblu lobigili

The floating breakfast is served on your pool at either the Beach Pool Villas or the Water Villas with a pool. 

(Image credit: Rachael Martin)

What’s included at Oblu Lobigili?

Like most of Atmosphere's hotels, guests of Oblu Lobigili can take advantage of the all-inclusive nightly rate - called the 'Lobi Plan' at this resort. 

The 'Lobi Plan' means that all guests get all meals at Ylang-Ylang included throughout their stay, as well as unlimited drinks at the restaurants and bars. Guests staying for four nights or more also get one dining experience at the underwater restaurant, Only Blu, included. 

Also included for all guests is all non-motorised watersports such as kayaking, paddle boarding and snorkelling, as well as one excursion such as sunset fishing. 

Impressively the spa is also included in the Lobi Plan package, with each guest offered one treatment during their stay. The tranquil spa looks out over the water and the different treatment rooms, with their private bathrooms and large outdoor bathtubs, offer a sense of retreat and true escapism not found anywhere else on the island. 

The Lobi Plan also includes full access to the marvellous over water gym – which has one of the best views this writer has ever seen from a treadmill. Watch the water dance while you run or see a school of fish swimming in the crystal clear waters below whilst on the cross trainer. One of the most popular times of the day in the gym is 5pm, when guests can workout whilst watching the golden sun disappear behind the horizon surrounded by an amber and pink sky. The perfect distraction from your daily 12-3-30

Oblu Lobigili is actually connected to another Oblu island - called OBLU XPERIENCE Ailafushi - by the same long wooden bridge used to get to the gym.

Over the bridge, the family-friendly resort has a very different feel. But while couples can venture over to take advantage of the larger restaurant, bars and shops on the bigger island as part of their all-inclusive rate, guests of Ailafushi cannot do the same, meaning that although Ailafushi and its water slides can be seen clearly from Oblu Lobigili, the island can at least maintain its adults-only rule. 

A macrame hammock with orange cushions on a sandy platform overlooking the ocean with two cocktails on a table nearby

(Image credit: Ali Abdulla/OBLU SELECT Lobigili)

How do you get to Oblu Lobigili?

Lobigili is located a quick 15 minute speedboat ride away from Male and the airport. This proximity to the Maldivian capital has both pros and cons, in that the swift boat ride is very welcome after any long haul flight and doesn’t add much travel time to your tiring journey to paradise, however it also means that the capital’s high rise buildings can be seen on the horizon from the island, with cargo ships, fishing boats and jet planes all regularly passing by while you sunbathe too. This can somewhat detract from the desired escapism and ‘desert island paradise’ aesthetic that is expected when visiting the Maldives - but this is a small price to pay if you’d rather avoid the obligatory sea plane transfer needed to reach the more remote islands in the archipelago.

There are regular flights to Male international airport from all over the world and your speedboat transfers to and from the airport will be arranged for you by the resort team and are included in the cost of your stay.

OBLU Lobigili: The woman&home verdict 

OBLU Lobigili certainly has a lot to offer couples who book to visit this boutique resort, not least peace of mind, as with more or less everything included in the price of your stay, there's no worrying about what your final bill might be at the end of your trip.

Unlike some all-inclusive resorts, OBLU Lobigili really delivers on the selection and quality of their food and drink offerings too, which along with the attentiveness of the staff, ensures that all guests will have a five-star experience.

Being so close to another island with a very different atmosphere, and also the hotel's proximity to Male and Velana International Airport, did detract from the feeling of exclusivity or remoteness for us during our visit and this coupled with the feeling of limited privacy may be a deal-breaker for some couples.

As OBLU Lobigili is a smaller island, it does feel better suited to those looking for a shorter stay of up to four nights at the most, and speaking to other guests staying at the resort it seemed common for guests to split their time in the Maldives between OBLU Lobigili and at least one other, larger and perhaps pricier resort. 

Prices start at $418 per person per night, with all meals, drinks and more included. For more information or to book visit coloursofoblu.com .

Rachael Martin
Digital Editor - Woman & Home

An internationally published digital journalist and editor, Rachael has worked as a writer and editor for both news and lifestyle websites in the UK and abroad including Metro UK, Homes & Gardens, Ideal Home, GoodTo.com, honey.nine.com.au and body+soul. 


Rachael's published work covers a broad spectrum of topics and she has written about everything from the future of sustainable travel, to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the world we live in, to the psychology of colour.